Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy Twenty Ten!

2010 -- Okay, I am just wondering, are we going to say Two Thousand and Ten when we refer to the new year, or will we start saying Twenty Ten? Not that I am on a bandwagon to change the way we say it or anything. Like I said, I am just wondering.

In the last decade, we said Nineteen. It was Eighteen the century before that. But now we are saying Two Thousand instead of Twenty.

Go figure, but ever since 2000 rolled around, we've been saying Two Thousand, which makes it sound science fiction, like the movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey.


But on the other hand, what about the song, 'In The Year 2525' (as in Twenty-Five Twenty-Five), by Zager and Evans?

What is your opinion? Who cares, right? Okay, so see ya in Twenty Ten, or Two Thousand And Ten...sigh.


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A New Beginning (In Days Of Old Lang Syne)

"Each new year is like a new chapter in our lives. As 2010 approaches, I am aware of the prospects of a new beginning that lies ahead, and I, for one, am looking forward to it with great anticipation, and hope. God has blessed me with a beautiful family, a great Church family and many friends. For each of those things, I am thankful." - The Notorious Meddler

When I think of new beginnings, I can't help but think about the Samuel Wood family. Samuel was the son of a woolcomber in Leicestershire England. His father wanted Samuel to follow in his footsteps, but he failed to complete his seven year apprentice when, in 1755 at the age of 18, he crossed the Atlantic in search of a new beginning. By the time the American Revolution began, Samuel was lame, and in poor health, and could not serve in the military, but he performed patriotic service for his new country by giving his pewter tableware to be melted and made into bullets. After the battle near Alexandria, he and his wife, Sarah, nursed the sick and wounded soldiers in their home.

Samuel and Sarah’s first four sons, William, James, Samuel, and Thomas were born near the great falls of the Potomac River. William served in the State Militia in North Carolina, protecting the settlers against the warring Cherokee and Creek Indians. He was a brave man who quickly rose to the rank of Lieutenant. In 1800, William, his mother, and two younger brothers, John and George, journeyed through the Cumberland Gap to the sparsely settled Stockton's Valley, Kentucky, known today as Albany. Not long after arriving at Stockton's Valley, William was appointed Sheriff and Justice of the Peace. He later served in the Kentucky Legislature as both representative and senator. William was promoted to the rank of Captain during the War of 1812. He was reportedly present when Tecumseh was killed at the Battle of the Thames.

Williams brother, James, the second son of Samuel, volunteered in Capt. William Cross’ regiment during the War of 1812. Soon after Samuel, the third son of Samuel, and his wife, Naomi, were married they headed west to live at Stockton's Valley. Samuel and William were two of the 13 charter members of Clear Fork Baptist Church. William was the Clerk for 48 years, until his death in 1850. Samuel was the first appointed deacon of the Church. In 813 Samuel was appointed overseer of the construction of the Burkesville Road. Today a portion of that road is known as 'Wood Street.'

When Thomas, the fourth son of Samuel, arrived at Stockton's Valley, he began helping William in his surveying business. but when news of the death of his father was received in 1800, Thomas returned to Tennessee to handle the affairs. There, he met, and married, his wife Mary. After the birth of their first child, the couple headed back to Stockton's Valley. Mary often told her grandchildren of the trip through the Cumberland Gap, saying that she and their baby son rode on a sled made of poles and drawn by oxen, while Thomas walked, driving and often leading, the beasts over the rough trail. At Stockton's Valley, Thomas took an active part in Clear Fork, often filling in as clerk when William was in Frankfort serving in the State Legislature. Thomas was appointed deacon in July of 1811. History records that Thomas “loyally assisted General Andrew Jackson in the preparations for the battle of New Orleans in 1815, by helping to dig the saltpetre used for the manufacture of gun powder which make the old rifles of the Kentucky and Tennessee troops do such effective work." In 1834, Thomas traveled to Illinois to visit family members who had moved there. On his way back home, his boot rubbed a blister on his foot, resulting in blood poisoning that caused his death eight days after returning home.

The Wood family welcomed their new beginnings. Samuel left his family in England and sailed to America, in search of freedom and a new start. Following the American Revolution, he found both. And then later, walking in their father's brave footsteps, Samuel's children left their homes and boldly moved west into the new frontier, where they helped start a new community and a new Church....the same community and the same Church where I am proud to live and raise my children.

Auld Lang Syne basically means "days of long ago." The song asks the question should old times should be forgotten. After the sacrifices made by people such as the Wood family, I say not. Incidentally, the song, Auld Lang Syne, was included in Thomason's Select Songs of Scotland in 1799 -- the same year William Wood and his family began migrating west. I find that ironic.

In honor of the Wood family....'we'll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne.'

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Christmas Story

...And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; because he was of the house and lineage of David: To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

...And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

...And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Luke 2

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Songs: Silent Night

It was Christmas Eve in the Austrian Alps but at the Church of St. Nicholas in Oberndorf, Father Joseph Mohr was upset because the organ was broken. But he was about to learn that our problems are God's opportunities; that the Lord causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him. It came into Father Joseph's mind to write a new song and hastily he wrote the words "Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright..." That night, December 24, 1818, "Silent Night" was sung for the first time.

Shortly afterward, upon hearing of the song, Karl Mauracher, who came to repair the organ, took the text and the tune and spread it about, referring to it as "Tiroler Volkslied." It seemed perfect for the snow-clad Alpine region of Austria, and perfect for the Christian heart.

"Silent Night" was first published in 1838 in a German handbook. It first appeared in its current English form in a book of Sunday School songs in 1863.

Were it not for a broken organ, there would never have been a "Silent Night."

Christmas Songs: O Come, All Ye Faithful

John Francis Wade was hounded out of England in 1745. He was a Roman Catholic layman in Lancashire and because of persecution arising from the Jacobite rebellion he and others fled to France and Portugal.

But how would he support himself? In those days, the printing of musical scores was cumbersome, and copying them by hand was an art. So Wade, took a job teaching music in the famous Roman Catholic College and Ministry Center in Douay, France. He became renowned as a copyist of musical scores. His work was exquisite.

In 1743, the 32-year-old Wade had produced a copy of a Latin Christmas carol beginning with the phrase Adeste Fidelis, Laeti triumphantes. At one time historians believed he had discovered an ancient hymn by an unknown author, but most scholars now believe Wade himself composed the lyrics. Seven original hand-copied manuscripts of this Latin hymn have been found, all of them bearing Wade's signature.

Wade passed away on August 16, 1786, at the age of 75. As time passed, Catholics who had fled began returning to Britian and they carried Wade's carol with them. After mor time had passed, one day Rev. Frederick Oakeley came across Wade's Latin Christmas carol. Being deeply moved, he translated it into English and O Come, All Ye Faithful was born - written and translated hundreds of years apart by two men, writing in two different nations to bid us come, joyful and triumphant, and adore Him born the King of angels.

O Come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Songs: O Little Town Of Bethlehem

Phillip Brooks is considered one of America's greatest preachers. He was a native Bostonian and pastored with great power in the Episcopalian ministry in Philadelphia and in Boston.

On December 24, 1865, while visiting the Holy Land, Phillips attended a five-hour Christmas Eve service at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. He was deeply moved. "I remember standing in the old church in Bethlehem, close to the spot where Jesus was born, when the whole church was ringing hour after hour with splendid hymns of praise to God, how again and again it seemed as if I could hear voices I knew well, telling each other of the wonderful night of the Savior's birth."

Three years later, as he prepared for the Christmas season of 1867, he wanted to compose an original Christmas hymn for the children to sing. Recalling his magical night in Bethlehem, he wrote a little hymn of five stanzas and handed the words to his organist, Lewis Redner, saying "Lewis, why not write a new tune for my poem. If it is a good tune, I will name it 'St. Lewis' after you."

Lewis struggled with his assignment, complaining of no inspiration. But, on the night before the program, he awoke with the music ringing in his soul. The next day the children sang "St. Louis." Brooks changed the spelling so as not to embarrass his organist.

Today, this Christmas hymn is known as, "O Little Town of Bethlehem."

*Taken from Then Sings My Soul - 150 of the World's Greatest Hymn Stories, by Robert J. Morgan.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Songs: Angels From The Realms Of Glory

John Montgomery was a pastor in Scotland, but he and his wife had a burden for world evangelism. They felt God's call to be missionaries to the island of Barbados. They placed their six-year-old son, James, in a settlement in Ireland and sailed away, only to perish in Barbados.

James spent his teenage years drifting from pillar to post, writing poetry and trying his hand at one thing then another. In his early twenties, he began working for a newspaper. He loved writing so much that James eventually bought the newspaper and renamed it the Sheffield Iris. His editorials proved unpopular with local officials, and he was thrown in jail a couple of times. But, he emerged from prison as a celebrity and he used his newly acquired fame to promote his favorite issues. Chief among them was the gospel. Despite the loss of his parents, James Montgomery had remained devoted to Christ and the scriptures.

As the years passed, he became the most respected leader of Sheffield, and his writings were eagerly read by its citizens. Early on Christmas Eve, 1816, James opened his Bible to Luke 2, and was deeply impressed by verse 13. Pondering the story of the heralding angels, he took his pen and started writing. By the end of the day, his new Christmas poem was being read in the pages of his newspaper. It was much later set to music and was first sung on Christmas Day, 1821 in England.

His parents would have been proud.

*Taken from Then Sings My Soul - 150 of the World's Greatest Hymn Stories, by Robert J. Morgan.

Christmas Songs: Hallelujah Chorus

His father tried to discourage his musical interests, preferring that he enter the legal profession, but it was the organ, harpsichord and violin that captured the heart of young George Frederic Handel. Soon this remarkable child began composing operas and by his 20s, he was the talk of England and the best paid composer on earth. Londoners fought for seats at his every performance, and his fame soared around the world. But, all too soon the glory passed and audiences dwindled. His music became outdated. One project after another failed, and Handel, now bankrupt, grew depressed. The stress brought on a case of palsy that crippled some of his fingers. "Handel's great days are over," wrote Frederick the Great. "His inspiration is exhausted!"

But Handels troubles matured him. His sharp tongue softened. His temper mellowed, and his music became more heartfelt. One morning, he received a manuscript from Charles Jennens. It was a word-for-word collection of various biblical texts about Christ. The opening words from Isaiah 40, "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people," moved Handel.

On August 22, 1741, he shut the door of his London home and started composing music for the words. Twenty-three days later, the world had Messiah. "Whether I was in the body or out of the body when I wrote it, I know not," Handel later said, trying to describe the experience. Messiah opened in London on March 23, 1743 with Handel leading from his harpsichord. King George II, who was present on opening night, surprised the crowd by leaping to his feet during the Hallelujah Chorus. No one knew why and regardless of why, to this day when the chorus is performed audiences have stood in reverence to the stirring words: Hallelujah! For He shall reign forever and ever.

Handel's fame was rekindled and for the next several years he continued performing his oratios. He died on April 14, 1759.

*Taken from Then Sings My Soul - 150 of the World's Greatest Hymn Stories by Robert J. Morgan.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Precious Memories

This time of year it is so easy to let our minds wander back to Chrismases of days gone by - those special moments shared with family and friends which fill our hearts with joy and gladness. It's one of the things I love about Christmas. I was thinking about some of those 'precious memories' today,' when that great hymnal popped into my head. I love this song, but after reading the story of how it came to be written, I realized that, for its writer, it was bittersweet.

One crisp, autumn night in 1923, at his home near Hamlin, Texas, the thoughts of a gentle, unassuming farmhand turned to the days of his youth - days before the family circle was broken. Days when cares of the world were unknown. John Braselton Fillmore Wright was not yet an old man, but several events had occurred which caused him to reflect back upon happier days.

Wright’s earliest memories were of his father and mother singing together the songs of their youth. It was this early environment which inspired him to write more than 500 songs. He falls into a category with a fortunate few who spend a lifetime writing songs, and for some unexplainable reason, comes up with THE SONG which eclipses all the others, and lifts one to an imperishable place in the hearts of the people. This happened to John Braselton Fillmore Wright when he wrote Precious Memories.

In 1909, word came to John Wright that his mother had “gone home to glory.” Five years later his father died. The now middle-aged song-writer recounted that the loss of his parents had a “tremendous effect on my life.” But it was on the still, autumn night of October 23, 1923, while he lived in Hamlin, Texas, that scenes of the home he had left 20 years before unfolded in his mind, and he was inspired to write his famous song.

The event, which weighed most heavily on his heart that autumn night, was the recent death of his youngest son, Everett Jackson Wright. “We lived by the railroad, below Hamlin, Texas” Mr. Wright wrote some years later. “Little three-year-old Everett would watch for the ‘chwains,’ as he called them, and he would stand at the frontyard gate and wave his little hands to the trainmen as they passed our house. They would always wave back to him. On Sunday evening, January 22, 1922, he (Everett) was stricken with “Membrane’s Croup” (now known as Diphtheria) and the next day, just as the sun went down, our little boy was dead. For many days after this, when the trains would pass the trainmen would be watching for little Everett to wave, but he was not there. Many times I watched them looking for him, and I wept and cried.”

Some time later as he reflected back on that autumn night in 1923 when he wrote his famous hymn, Mr. Wright said, “when my thoughts turned to my own little son whom we had buried the year before, I bathed my pillow in tears.”

Precious memories, unseen angels
Sent from somewhere to my soul
How they linger, ever near me
And the sacred past unfold

Precious father, loving mother
Fly across the lonely years
And old homescenes of my childhood
In fond memory appears

In the stillness of the midnight
Echoes from the past I hear
Old time singing, gladness bringing
From that lovely land somewhere

As I travel on life's pathway
Know not what the years may hold
As I ponder, hope grows fonder
Precious memories flood my soul

Precious memories, how they linger
How they ever flood my soul
In the still ness of the midnight
Precous, sacred scenes unfold

Precious Memories first appeared in “Harbor Bells,” published by V. O. Stamps in 1925. It listed J. B. F. Wright as the owner, but with no copyright. According to Nellie Wright, a distant cousin, “a verbal agreement (was made) with Mr. Stamps that every time the song was recorded, he’d get a certain percentage royalty. He only got royalty from the first recording that amounted to $36.00. Then Mr. Stamps died and his heirs would not honor the agreement.”

We often talk about one’s education and what academic level of higher learning we have achieved. There is no doubt that formal education is essential in today’s world. However, some good, sacred memory preserved from childhood is perhaps the best education one could obtain. There is nothing higher, nothing stronger, nothing more wholesome, and nothing better for life in the future than some good memory, especially a memory of childhood, of church, or of home. One of the most critical factors in making right decisions is precious memories.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.[Philippians 4:8]

taken from words written by Robert J. Taylor

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sister Shipley Died

I've always been fascinated with the early history of my Church. Established in 1802, the clerks kept great records. I was looking at them yesterday, when the entry from December 1858 caught my eye. It contained only three words, Sister Shipley died. It inspired to write the following lyrics.

In 1858 Sister Shipley died
And though it doesn't say it, everybody cried
When the Church folk gathered 'round
And placed her in the ground
On that cold December morn'

The choir sounded like a great angelic band
And the preacher talked about a home in Beulah land
Now here I must confide
The blood was applied
The day that Sister Shipley died

Joy to the world the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
And the angels they did sing
Hosanna to the King
On the day that Sister Shipley died

Sing hosanna, sing hosanna
Sing hosanna to the King of kings
Sing hosanna, sing hosanna
Sing hosanna to the King

Hosanna in the highest is the song we sing
For Christ is our redeemer, Lord of Heav'n, our King
O may we ever praise Him as in Him we abide
The way they did when Sister Shipley died

Thursday, December 10, 2009

No Shadow of Turning (A Thousand Days Blessed)

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."

(James 1:17)

This morning, someone said they hope I have 'the best Christmas ever' this year. Little did they know what they said sent a chill up and down my spine as if I were standing outside in this cold December air. You see, my 'best Christmas ever' so far was also one that, although it had a good ending, was nothing short of a nightmare. I have no clue why I am about to write this story. I will blame my gloomy mood on the rain that is falling outside. Maybe that is the reason I find myself sitting in front of my computer about to do something I told myself I would never do. Here goes...

We thought J.D. had a bad cold when we stopped by the emergency room on our way to Church that Sunday morning. It was Thanksgiving weekend and I had so much to be thankful for. God had just given me a baby boy and I was so happy. At six-weeks-old, J.D. appeared to be very normal health-wise, other than the terrible cough he had. Not taking any chances, we stopped by the ER, where we learned that it was more than a cough, it was bronchitis. He was immediately hospitalized.

By the following Wednesday, J.D.'s condition had improved and we were told he would be released from the hospital the following morning. Because he appeared to be fine, we left the hospital to go home and rest. Marina was two and I had felt guilty of not being there for her in the previous days that I had stayed at J.D.'s side at the hospital. So that Wednesday night, his mom and I left J.D. at the hospital, under the watchful eye of his Nana. The phone rang way too early the next morning, but the message on the other end of the phone woke me instantly.

The next morning, the doctor wanted to hold J.D. one more time before releasing him from the hospital. I have always wondered why it happened the way it did, but just has his Nana put J.D. in the doctor's arms, he had a seizure. What followed was a nightmare that lasted a little over two years.

Just as J.D. was placed in the doctors arms, he began choking on mucus. Because he was so tiny, the hospital did not have a tube small enough to fit down his throat to draw the stuff out. When I arrived at the hospital, the room was packed with nurses and physicians. One nurse was doing calculations. Her notes were spread out all over the bed. Every available doctor and every available nurse was in his room helping in some way. Things suddenly went into a tailspin. When I walked in the room, one of the first things I was told was 'the helicopter is on its way.' Tests had showed he was well enough to be discharged from the hospital, but something terribly awful had happened to him. I turned and walked out of the room and joined in a chorus of family, friends and hospital staff who were praying for my son.

The helicopter finally arrived and J.D. was airlifted to Kosair Childrens Hospital in Louisville, where he would spend the next four weeks. The diagnosis was Whooping Cough.

I couldn't believe it. I thought that disease had long vanished from society, but, according to the district health department, up to this point there hadn't been a case of Pertussis, or Whooping Cough, in the state of Kentucky in 14 years. Later, I would be told that three other babies had contracted whooping cough and all four children, including my son, had one thing in common, the same pediatrician.

The Chinese call Whooping Cough the cough of a thousand days, and I believe it because that is how long J.D.'s ordeal lasted. My dad, who suffered from Emphysema, said it was the worst cough he had ever heard, including his own. The first time he heard J.D. cough was over the telephone and he cried like a baby. This story is extremely difficult for me to write because I am having to relive it as I do, and over the past 14 years, it has only been on a very rare occasion that I have been able to discuss it without crying. I will say it like this...there was so much trauma, an unbelievable amount, not only for J.D., but for his parents as well. Never before had I experienced anything like it. Month after month after month, J.D. gagged and coughed every 3 to 4 minutes. Eventually, he coughed so much that he completely lost his voice. I remember having to periodically look into his crib to see if he was crying and many times finding him crying hard -- with no sound coming out of his mouth. That took its toll on us. It was more than I could bare. There are no words to describe how it felt seeing him do that. The whole episode was beyond a nightmare. After all these years, I still make it a point not to think about it, but sometimes, when I least expect it, it creeps up on me.

I guess not everyone believes in miracles or in angels like I do, but something truly wonderful happened while J.D. was at Kosair. We had been there for over a week with no vehicle and were sleeping in J.D.'s room. Eventually, J.D.'s Nana drove up to the hospital to help us out. We took advantage of that and got a room at the Ronald McDonald House. Around 5am, Julie woke up screaming that something had happened to J.D. She said she dreamed there was an angel sitting in the middle of J.D.'s bed and that his wings covered the entire bed. She said there was a golden glow all about the room. She said the angel was rocking J.D. in his arms and was singing 'the most beautiful song she had ever heard,' although she could not understand the words.

We took it to mean that something had happened, but we weren't sure if it meant good or bad. Up to this point, J.D. had slept very little because every 3 to 4 minutes he was coughing, choking and gagging. It was literally non-stop 24/7. So, not knowing what to think, we ran to the hospital as fast as we could go and found J.D. asleep in his bed..sleeping calmly. His Nana was very surprised by our sudden entrance. She said that just a few minutes before we got there, suddenly J.D. went limp and fell fast asleep. Whether or not anyone else believes it, I will always believe that God performed a miracle. J.D. slept almost 12 hours that day. No one could believe he was suddenly sleeping so sound.

Seven days later, we brought him home. It was a week before Christmas, but he was quarantined until the first of February. So, the entire Christmas and New Year holidays were spent shut in at home, but we made the best of it and it turned out to be one of the best Christmases I have ever had.

Something happened on my first day back at work after J.D. had come home from the hospital. We were living in Burkesville. There was a big snow on the ground and the temperature was just above zero. I backed my car out of the driveway and out onto the street and reached down to turned on the radio. The very first words that came from the car speakers were these: "I heard about His healing and His cleansing power revealing, how He made the lame to walk again and taught the blind to see." In my heart, which was racing 90mph, it was God telling me that it was He who was responsible for J.D.'s recovery. At that moment, it was as if all of the trauma, all of the pain and agonizing, all the fears and the worrying was suddenly swept away, and all I could do was cry. As I drove out of town, I rolled my window down and, for next few miles, screamed 'Praise God' as loud as I could over and over and over. All that I had held in was released. I was overcome with joy and thanks. God had spared my precious child.

About the time J.D. reached his second birthday, he stopped coughing. Finally, it was over. Today, except for the occasional use of an inhaler, you can't tell that he was once so sick.

What has been my greatest Christmas so far? The one where I was reminded that every good gift and every perfect gift is from above. The rest of James 1:17 is awesome..."and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. The last part, neither shadow of turning, means that God did not leave me or my family, and most importantly, J.D., in the midst of that storm.

Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father
There is no shadow of turning with thee
Thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not
As thou hast been thou forever will be

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Lead With Love

If over 86% of Americans are said to believe in Jesus, why are we eliminating Him from our holidays? I hate having to be 'politically correct' for the minority. The majority has rights too, but are we getting anywhere by protesting?

If we spent half as much time evangelizing as we did trying to legislate morality, we'd see a lot more results.

If it bothers you that your town doesn't allow a scene depicting Christ's birth, put a Nativity scene on your own front lawn. If we all did that, there wouldn't be any need for one on the town square. They would be EVERYWHERE!

Some people may be calling it a 'holiday tree,' but remember, Christ made ALL trees.

Instead of writing letters objecting to the way Christ's birthday is celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They REALLY need them.

Visit someone in a nursing home, even if you do not know them. They just need to know that someone cares about them.

Instead of writing the President complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sent out, write and tell him that you'll be praying for him and his family.

Instead of giving your children gifts you can't afford and they don't need, tell them the story of Christ's birth, and why He came here. Remind them that Jesus loves them.

Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him or her.

Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since you don't know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile; it could make the difference.

When you are out shopping, even if the store clerk isn't allowed to wish you a 'Merry Christmas,' that doesn't keep you from wishing them one.

If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary.

Just like the song says, let others know you are a Christian by your love. 'Lead with Love,' is what I always say.

Lastly, believe it or not, there are people, even whole families, in your town, and yes even here in my town, who will have no presents to give or receive this Christmas. That is one of the reasons why I started the Christmas at Home project a few years ago. I hope you will support it again this year as many of you have in the past. Even if you don't know them, show them God's love for them by buying them some food and even a new toy for the little ones.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Last Picture Show

Artist Fred Thrasher was commissioned by the local Project Graduation group to do a print as a fund raiser. He chose the place where I grew up. Albany Drive-In Theater was owned by my grandfather and uncle. Thank you Fred, you have made my family very proud.

My 78 RPM Disks (1905-1924)

1. Albert Campbell - Dreaming (3701). Steve Porter - Flanagan At The Vocal Teacher's (3705). Standard Talking Machine Company 1907. 2. ...